Volume 1.4 | July 2022

News from the SOM Office of Research
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Message from the Associate Dean for Research

Greetings from the School of Medicine Office of Research; we hope you are having a wonderful summer! We are marking the end of Fiscal Year 2022 by looking back at just a few of the remarkable accomplishments of our researchers.

We started FY 2021 with an increase in extramural funding over the prior year. This increased funding helped to boost the School of Medicine’s national research profile. More importantly, the overall growth in research translated into positive impact for our community. I highlight here only two of many possible examples.

The Center for Women’s Cardiovascular and Brain Health, one of four programs funded as part of the $24 million Krueger v. Wyeth cy pres settlement award, opened in May under the leadership of Professor Amparo Villablanca. The Center will include the work of cardiovascular, bioinformatics and computational scientists as well as neuropathologists and behavioral and population health scientists, while providing clinical care to women of underserved populations in our community.


The Oak Park Lawrence J. Ellison Musculoskeletal Research Center opened on June 6. The center is a new home for a material testing laboratory, cell and molecular biology facilities, tissue culture facilities, microscopy laboratory, microsurgery suite and computing facilities.


There have also been some notable awards for research teams this year. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, professor of clinical internal medicine, led a team from the Center for Reducing Health Disparities and the Clinical and Translational Science Center on an interdisciplinary project in mental health for underserved communities in Solano County, and was recognized by the AAMC as an exemplar of community- engaged participatory research. Alicia Agnoli, assistant professor of family and community medicine, received the prestigious designation of a Top Ten research achievement award as well as a Distinguished Clinical Research Achievement Award (Top 3) by the Clinical Research Forum for her work on adverse effects of rapid opioid tapering, which was published in JAMA.


This is just a brief glimpse of our exciting year in SOM research. We continue forward with the support of our leadership, including Interim SOM Dean Susan Murin and Vice Dean for Research, Kim Barrett, who have brought new energy to our efforts. There are also two active workgroups related to our research goals that are developing tactics to implement our strategic plan related to research. Here’s to a great year ahead!


Ted Wun M.D., FACP

Associate Dean for Research for the School of Medicine

Director and Principal Investigator, Clinical and Translational Science Center

Chief, Division of Hematology and Oncology


Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan, distinguished professor and vice chair for research in the  Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, has received an approval from the PREVENT Program funded by the National Cancer Institute for her concept application. The application is entitled “Microbial Metabolite Mimicry, a Nano-drug for Colon Cancer Prevention.” The PREVENT program is a peer-reviewed agent development program designed to support preclinical development of innovative interventions for cancer prevention. Wan, Kit Lam, distinguished professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, and Ruiwu Liu, research professor of Chemistry at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, have a patent pending on this novel drug, which is designed based on the shortage of metabolites directly or indirectly produced by gut microbes found in specimens obtained from colorectal cancer patients. Wan is the co-director of the Cancer and Microbiome Initiative at the UCD Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her lab focuses on studying how to use bugs or bacterial metabolites to prevent and treat liver and colon cancer, as well as metabolic diseases.

Congratulations to Jennifer Rosenthal, associate professor of pediatrics, and collaborators Kristin Hoffman, associate professor of neonatology, and Daniel Stein, Epic telehealth supervisor at UC Davis Health. This team received the AAMC Telehealth Equity Catalyst award on behalf of UC Davis Health. They were recognized for the innovation of UC Davis Health’s NICU Virtual Family-Centered Rounds (FCR) program and the integration of video translation services into the telehealth platform known as Extended Care.

Jan Nolta, professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy and Internal Medicine, received the Chancellor’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Innovation. This award recognizes researchers whose career accomplishments include innovations leading to a long-term positive impact on the lives of others and who are an inspiring influence for other innovators. Nolta serves as the director of the Stem Cell Program and the UC Davis Gene Therapy Center in the Institute for Regenerative Cures at UC Davis Health.

Congratulations to Jonathon Ross, who was appointed by Governor Newsom in June to the State Board of Optometry, which oversees licensing and regulation of the state’s Optometry and Opticianry practices. Ross has served as principal optometrist in the department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science since 2017. He previously served as an associate optometrist at Doctors Chan, Moon & Associates from 2015 to 2017. He is a past president of the Sacramento Valley Optometric Society and diplomate for the American Board of Optometry.

Impactful Publications

Featured in Lancet Respiratory Medicine

Willis Bowman, fellow in the Pulmonary and Critical Care program, is first author of an article published in the June 2022 Lancet Respiratory Medicine, "Proteomic biomarkers of progressive fibrosing interstitial lung disease: a multicentre cohort analysis." This article details a study in which a

proteomic analysis was used to identify novel plasma biomarkers of progressive fibrosing interstitial lung disease and develop a proteomic signature to predict this phenotype. Several of Bowman’s colleagues in the division of Pulmonary and Critical care are co-authors of this study, including project scientist Angela Linderholm, fellow Janelle Vu Pugashetti, junior specialist Vivian Vo, clinical research coordinator Gabrielle Echt, resident William Leon, and assistant professor Justin Oldham.


Our faculty publish their research in “high-impact journals” - those considered to be highly influential in their fields. A journal’s impact factor is a measure of the frequency with which an average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year. The impact factor of a journal is an index number calculated by Clarivate and frequently used as a proxy for the importance of the journal in its field.

Get to know SOMOR

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Grants Facilitation Unit

The SOMOR Grants Facilitation Unit (GFU) provides high-quality support to UC Davis SOM investigators in developing, writing/editing, and finalizing grant proposals to fund their research programs.


Editorial: Dobbs Decision

“A woman’s right to ultimately decide if and when she becomes pregnant is the cornerstone of her ability to achieve what she desires in life for herself and her family.” – Mitchell Creinin

On June 24, the US Supreme Court ruled for the defendant in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Care Organization, reversing two landmark contraceptive cases, including Roe v. Wade, which protected abortion access in this country for fifty years. Abortion access across the country has begun to fall under newly adopted state regulations and an uncertain legal landscape threatens the work of medical professionals both in clinical practice and research.



UC Davis Children's Hospital Cleft and Craniofacial Team

July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness and improve understanding of children with craniofacial differences. UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s Cleft and Craniofacial Team, co-led by Craig Senders, professor emeritus of pediatric otolaryngology, and Travis Tollefson, professor and division chief of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, is a patient-centered group of interdisciplinary professionals providing care to these children. ...


Research News

Research in the News

For all the latest research news, go to the research news page, which aggregates news about School of Medicine research as it is posted.


Team Research Forum

Join the UC Davis Office of Research Friday, July 15, at 10am for a discussion that will highlight the broader impacts of the recent Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe vs. Wade.


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